Page last updated at 14:25 GMT, Monday, 2 March 2009

Database links unsolved gun crime

Gun crime
More than 700 items have already been analysed using the new system

The first firearms database allowing detectives in England and Wales to link crimes in "double quick time" has been officially launched.

The National Ballistics Intelligence Service (Nabis) gives guns and bullets a traceable "fingerprint".

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said the analysis would help police get firearms off the streets.

She said: "If you are in a gang and you use a gun... you are more likely to be caught and you will end up in prison."

'Cutting edge'

The database stores forensic information from all firearms and ballistics material recovered by police in England and Wales.

Sophisticated equipment then creates a "fingerprint" allowing detectives to establish links to previous crimes within 48 hours of an offence being committed.

Ms Smith said: "We have seen gun crime coming down and it is coming down because of good detective work and good policing.

By bringing together science, intelligence and technology we can unravel where a firearm has been used, by whom and why
Det Ch Supt Paul James
Head of Nabis

"Nabis's specialist CSI [Crime Scene Investigation]-style analysis of ballistics - effectively giving guns and bullets a fingerprint which can be tracked - will help police match guns to offenders in double quick time.

"Nabis's expert advice will help police take more guns off our streets and better protect our communities from gun-related crimes.

"I need to be clear that if you are in a gang and you use a gun, this sort of facility means you are more likely to be caught and you will end up in prison."

The Nabis system will be based at three centres - in London, Birmingham and Manchester.

Det Ch Supt Paul James, head of Nabis, said more than 100 incidents had already been linked since the programme began three months ago.

"I can confidently say there is nothing else like this in the world. The scientists here, and the work they are doing, is cutting edge," he said.

"We actually say every gun tells a story - Nabis seeks to unlock these stories.

"By bringing together science, intelligence and technology we can unravel where a firearm has been used, by whom and why."

More than 700 items have been analysed using the new system.

They include the Fairfield Post Office shooting in which a sub-postmaster's son was shot dead in an alleged armed robbery in Worcestershire.

Mr James added: "Although gun crime is rare and accounts for just a small percentage of all crime... whenever a gun is fired or used by a criminal it has an impact."

Print Sponsor


RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific